Bok No8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe in line to face the All Blacks
Sikhumbuzo Notshe is in line to start his second Test match for the Springboks when they take on this season’s Rugby Championship winners New Zealand at Loftus on Saturday.
The Springboks No8 earned a place in the starting line-up for the first time in the 23-12 win over Australia in Port Elizabeth last weekend in the absence of injured Warren Whiteley.
Whiteley's availability is subject to passing a fitness test later in the week.
“We have sent Warren to do rehabilitation and we will make a decision on him from tomorrow Tuesday).
"We will hear from him if there is still pain on his groin and take it from there‚” said Boks assistant coach Matt Proudfoot‚ who added that centre Damian de Allende is in the running to return to the playing squad after recovering from injury.
Proudfott showered Notshe with praise after his satisfactory performance against the Wallabies where he made ten tackles before he was substituted early in the second half by Marco van Staden.
“I think he was very tidy.
"The first start can be a little bit nerve-wracking for a lot of guys but he has been around the camp for a long time and he did his job‚” said Proudfoot.
“He is more of an attacking player and we want him to play his attacking game.
"We didn’t get the flow we wanted in the second half where he could express himself.
"But I was happy with the way he engaged the scrum and he is developing into a reliable line-out option.
“Out of the guys in his position in the country‚ he is one of the better attacking players.
"I have coached him for a long time at Western Province‚ I am comfortable with him and I would like to see him getting more and more comfortable.”
Looking ahead to the anticipated clash against the All Blacks‚ Proudfoot said the Boks need to get their mauling right.
“It is something that we are driving hard as a pack of forwards because once you can get the pack on the front foot they can be dangerous‚" he said.
"It is a big part of our game and I want us to be better because it is an area where South African rugby has been good at.
"We will keep on evolving‚ the way Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph di Toit and Franco Mostert have been guiding the line-out has been good.
"We would like to be more consistent in it and that is something I will be drumming this week.”